Our first week here in St. Paul for the 2019 legislative session primarily involved taking care of the many administrative tasks that mark the start of a new legislative session. We also welcomed the 40-plus brand new legislators that joined us in this 91st Legislature.
We have new faces in the governor’s office and at most of the leadership positions in our state agencies. I have begun the task of reaching out to the many new agency commissioners. I have already met informally with several this week and will continue that process with additional formal meetings.
We are working on many issues, however the elephant in the room is developing and passing the next two-year state budget. The governor is required to provide a budget proposal to the Legislature on or before Feb. 19. Building a rational state budget that serves the people of our district and the citizens of Minnesota is my focus as I continue discussions with our new state agency commissioners.
On Thursday, members of the House paused with a heavy heart to note the passing of Rep. Tom Rukavina. Rep. Rukavina represented the heart of the Iron Range for 1987 through 2012. I was not fortunate enough to serve in the House with Rep. Rukavina, but during my tenure as an Aitkin County Commissioner, I worked with him on many issues important to our area.
These past four years that relationship continued as he served as a St. Louis County Commissioner and I here in the Legislature. There was no stronger or effective advocate for rural Minnesota than Rep. Tommy Rukavina.
I want to also acknowledge the retirement of Aitkin County Sherriff Scott Turner. Sheriff Turner has served the citizens of Aitkin County with great distinction as a deputy, sergeant, undersheriff and as Aitkin County Sheriff. Please join me in thanking Scott for his wonderful years of dedicated service to our community. We wish him well as he completes 30-plus years of distinguished service as one of Minnesota’s finest public safety officers.
Input from district residents is always my priority. You can reach me by calling (651) 296-2365 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, as noted in my last update, please feel free to visit my legislative office if you are in St. Paul. Please reach out to me or my assistant, Emilie (Emilie.email@example.com) so we can set up an appointment.